Kids are surrounded by the world’s view of Easter. Store aisles are crowded with colorfully-woven baskets; green, stringy Easter (a.k.a. plastic) grass and mounds of candy covered with varied pastels. Bookstores offer dozens of brightly-colored books focusing on the adventures of the Easter bunny. A kids CD of Easter songs fails to mention Christ’s death and resurrection — even once.
As Christian parents, what can we do to emphasize the real meaning?
Here are some suggestions.
1. Talk about the events of Easter all year. We’ve heard about the pastor who, at the end of his sermon on Easter, wished everyone a Merry Christmas. He figured that would be the next time he saw some of the congregation at church. Don’t become a Christmas-Easter parent. Talk about Christ’s death and resurrection throughout the year. The resurrection of Christ is the very basis of our faith. (1 Corinthians 15:17)
2. Read the Bible account. A week or so before Easter, begin reading the Bible accounts of what happened. Bible storybooks can be good and are great supplemental reading, but also read the biblical account from God’s Word. If you have young children, read just a few verses each day and explain them fully.
Matthew 26:14-75; 27:11-66; 28:1-20
Mark 14:10-72; 14:1-47; 16:1-8
Luke 22:1-71; 23:1-56; 24:1-53
John 11:45-57; 12:12-50; 13-21
3. Explain why Christ had to die. Some curriculum, teachers and parents stay away from teaching children about the events of the crucifixion so as to not upset children, but we all are sinners and young children need to know that Christ took the punishment for their sins. Yes, you need to use age-appropriate language in explaining what happened, but kids need facts. (When Awana did their biggest question survey a few years ago, this was one of the biggest questions from Sparks-aged children. What really happened when Christ died?) Don’t sugarcoat a child’s sin or Christ’s death.
4. Look at present day pictures of Jerusalem. Show your children that this is a real place. In fact, if you put “the garden tomb” in your computer search engine, you will come up with pictures of the place many Bible scholars feel is the very tomb where Jesus was buried. This place matches much of the biblical account of the crucifixion, but even the people who control the property are quick to point out that no one knows for sure — information you can pass along to your kids. However, this will at least give your children an idea of what it looked like.
5. Look up the Garden Tomb on YouTube. Ok, this might seem like a strange thing to do, but there are several home videos on there that record what the guide tells people and why scholars think this is the place. I like how the guide says, “this is either the right tomb or an excellent visual aid. Remember, the place isn’t important, but the person behind the place is.”
(I’ve been there and it is always crowded with tour groups.) So check it out and either show your kids, or use the information from the guide as a basis for talking with your kids.
6. Do a service project together as a family. Many people truly do not understand what Easter is all about. Is there a family in your neighborhood or someone who lives alone who would enjoy some cookies, home-baked bread or cupcakes? Why not work with your children to make gift baskets for these people — including goodies … and the good news in the form of a gospel tract or better yet, a tract your own kids make on the computer. (Make sure everything they say is biblically accurate.)
7. Be creative with the candy. Some people give their kids Easter baskets earlier in the week so the candy doesn’t outshine the meaning of the day itself. Another idea (for frugal parents J) is to allow your children to choose candy or another type of treat after Easter because then you’re also hitting sales!
Again, Easter is a time to think about Christ’s death and resurrection in a special way, but every day is a time to thank Him for what He’s done for us.